Every four years, the Federal Government moves into transition mode. No matter the outcome of the Presidential election, the Government enters a time of transition for senior staff across agencies. The Partnership for Public Service (PPS) Center for Presidential Transition produced a report last year highlighting the need for effective pre-election planning and preparation for significant turnover among the highest-level Government positions.
During the month of October, we will be sharing a series of posts on records management best practices for officials entering and exiting Federal service. Today we’d like to highlight resources made available by GSA for all agencies. They maintain the Presidential Transition Directory to connect the people helping to plan and design the next Federal Government with information and resources. This Directory also incorporates OMB Memo M-20-24: Implementing the Presidential Transition Act. Our staff worked with GSA to ensure records management guidance has been updated and incorporated into the Transition Directory.
The PPS manages a Center for Presidential Transition at https://presidentialtransition.org/ to provide the public with additional information to understand the transition process. This site also includes information related to activities agencies undertake to prepare for transition.
During this time of change, we will continue to work with Federal agencies to ensure both incoming and outgoing political appointees are trained in their records management responsibilities and are properly preserving their records. Managing records is a daily activity and requires constant training and attention throughout an employee’s Federal service.
We would like to remind agencies of the products we’ve created regarding transition:
- Memorandum from Archivist of the United States to the Senior Agency Officials for Records Management
- 2016 Web Edition of Documenting Your Public Service featuring social media account guidance
- Video Briefing on Records Management Guidance for Political Appointees featuring an Introduction from the Archivist of the United States
- Records Management Guidance for Political Appointees Handout
- Model Records and Information Management Entrance and Exit Checklists (download in .docx format)
As a reminder, the Federal Records Act does not apply to Presidential records created under the Presidential Records Act.. Presidential records are managed separately from Federal records. Questions related to determining whether or not documentary materials are Presidential records should be referred to the White House Counsel.